The Mobile Industry: What's In Store For 2013?
As telecoms and mobile technology continue their steady march into every corner of our life and into almost every industry, it's time to make some forecasts on how mobile technology will play out in the New Year and beyond.
With some help from researchers, entrepreneurs and analysts, Forbes staff have made ten predictions about what big changes we'll see in the mobile industry this year.
Smartphones will likely get cheaper thanks to HTML5, a new web standard that lets apps run on any mobile OS through a web browser. HTML5 will stage a comeback this year because of the expected launch of Firefox and Tizen - the open-sourced, mobile OS of Mozilla and Samsung, respectively, says Quixey CEO Tomer Kagan. Smartphones will likely get cheaper because HTML5 apps can run on these systems without needing a browser and because they involve lower developer costs.
It may come as a surprise, but device manufacturers will likely continue to launch smartphones in the same tried and tested way basically in three main sizes of phone, tablet and the one in-between - the phablet. Device makers will keep making incremental innovations into the design, texture and finish, says IBB Consulting's mobile expert Jefferson Wang. Still, this year may see the outcome of Samsung's long rumored work on foldable AMOLED screens.
The mobile sector will likely see a few new entrants, with Facebook potentially launching its branded phone in partnership with HTC this year.
Wireless technology will breathe new life into products like watches and cameras that were almost pushed to extinction by smartphones. This year there will be more wireless technology-enabled wearable devices such as watches tracking your fitness levels and cameras that connect to the Internet and take a better picture than your smartphone, according to Wang.
Samsung and Foxconn will continue to dominate the mobile handset scene in 2013. As the smartphone race is becoming as much about software as about changes to the hardware, newcomers to the market developing new operating systems and launching phones will join the race. Dark horses such as Tizen and Mozilla's Firefox OS will challenge the ecosystem, analysts predict.
2013 will also see increased demand for "big data" and, finally, the definition of mobile will expand as more devices go mobile, with the smartphone being the hub that controls them all.